How to Motivate Customers to Write Online Reviews

When it comes to online reviews, a small pool of customers shapes the buying decisions of nearly all your prospects.

The vast majority of your prospects now read reviews of businesses online, which makes each positive review a valuable earned media asset. To generate more of them you need to motivate and remind customers to write them.

But how? We asked an expert, Chris Campbell, Chief Tracking Officer of online review monitoring group Review Trackers. Here’s what he told us: 

1. Engage the vocal minority

A lot of people read and rely on reviews — yet very few actually take the time and effort to write them. This means, whether businesses like it or not, the minority can exert a disproportionate amount of influence on the purchase decisions of the majority.

This also means it’s critical for every business owner to be more proactive in engaging with the review-writing minority.

It starts with monitoring online reviews on major review sites like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Foursquare — which is something that we here at Review Trackers help business owners do.

The key behind driving engagement is to identify who these vocal customers are, find where (which review sites) they’re talking, listen to what they’re saying and respond to their reviews in ways that demonstrate management’s appreciation for these customers’ feedback.

2. Respond to the good and bad

Even if the people who write reviews are not necessarily the customers who hold the most-trustworthy opinions, you have to engage, respond and essentially take ownership of what’s posted out there.

If it’s a glowing five-star review, say thank you to the customer for sharing his or her positive experience. If it’s a bad review, get to the heart of the customer issue and respond as professionally as possible.

Once reviewers see that their feedback has been rewarded with a response from management, they become more likely to believe that the business cares about them.

3. Make the review process easy

Most review sites discourage business owners from soliciting reviews, and I kind of get that: after all, you don’t want to sound overly solicitous pursuing customer testimonials.

You definitely don’t want to seem too pushy about it or, worse, get “fined” by the review sites for violating their content policies and guidelines.

What you can do to make the review-writing process easier is to actively drive awareness and provide gentle reminders about the review sites on which you’re listed.

Online Reviews - Motivating Customers to Write4. Plant your flags

I regularly advise our business customers to build out their online presence — by monitoring content in numerous sites while also promoting their presence there.

There isn’t a single best place online for reviews; business owners have to take a multi-pronged approach.

Sure, Yelp is huge. But there’s also Google+ Local, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Facebook, Urbanspoon and other similar sites where anyone with a computer or cell phone can look up reviews. So you should plant your flags, so to speak, on as many sites as possible.

5. Make your business memorable

Once your flags are planted, you can find creative ways to make the review-writing process less tedious. Since people often forget to write reviews, make the customer experience more memorable.

Posting check-in offers on TripAdvisor, Foursquare and Yelp, for example, entices local customers to visit your business and, at the same time, create unexpected positive experiences that review-writing customers may consider to be worth sharing.

Another great way of encouraging (instead of soliciting) reviews is reaching out to journalists, bloggers and industry authorities.

If you’re running a restaurant, it might make sense to invite a small group of food bloggers or critics for a casual media roundtable over dinner. If you have a spa or beauty salon, gather a few influential fashion and lifestyle bloggers for a day of pampering.

You can’t force everyone to write reviews. After all, while 90 percent of shoppers use online reviews to make buying decisions, only 6 percent actually write them.

What you can do is reach out energetically to segments and networks that are relevant to what you do. This will allow you to spread the word about your business. Hopefully, once you achieve that, more reviews will start coming in.

Comments

comments

Did you like the post?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Speak Your Mind

*